If you’ve stepped on a nail, there are a couple of factors to consider when determining if you should seek medical attention, including:
- The depth of the wound
- The cleanliness of the nail you stepped on
It can be difficult to tell how deeply a nail penetrated your foot.
If the nail appears to have only scratched the surface of your foot and it wasn’t rusty, it may be safe to just take care of the wound at home. Follow these simple steps to clean and cover the wound.
Wash Your Hands
The most important consideration is preventing the wound from getting infected. That starts with making sure your hands are clean. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching your foot.
Use your hands to apply pressure to the area around the wound. This will help keep it from bleeding more. Remember to have clean hands before they go near the wound.
Clean the Wound
Regardless of how dirty or clean the nail was, it is crucial to clean the wound to prevent infection. Although it may be a little bit uncomfortable, it needs to be done.
Follow these steps:
- First, put the wounded foot under running water for five minutes so that the wound can be rinsed. Ideally, a saline (salt in water) solution is used. If saline is not accessible, use bottled water.
- Next, use soap to wash the affected area.
- Take a good look at the wound to see if there is any debris or a piece of the nail in the wound. Look, but don’t touch.
- If there is nothing visible, you are set to keep treating the wound yourself. However, it is always best to receive advice from a medical professional.
Apply Antibiotic Cream
Next, apply antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin (neomycin/polymyxin B/bacitracin) to the wound. You don’t need a whole lot, just enough to cover the wound. The antibiotic cream will help prevent bacterial infection in the open wound.
Cover the Wound
Once antibiotic cream has been applied on the wound, cover it with a clean bandage. Make sure the padding (the white square) on the bandage is big enough so that the adhesive doesn’t stick to the wound.